You may have noticed that your smartphone tends to abruptly shut off when it’s used outside in the cold.
When that happens, there’s not much you can do, since the phone is temporarily dead as a door nail.
This occurs because the extreme cold is too much for your smartphone’s battery.
Many users have also reported similar issues with other battery powered gadgets, such as bluetooth headphones – which also contain batteries.
It’s fairly simple as to why smartphone batteries quickly become unusable in extreme temperatures – both hot and cold.
Most smartphones nowadays run on a Lithium-Ion battery.
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Lithium-Ion batteries require liquid electrolytes, which sit between the two types of electrodes in the battery, in order to provide power.
When smartphones with a Lithium-Ion battery are exposed to extremely temperatures, these liquid electrolytes effectively freeze, reducing their ability to send energy to your phone.
If it gets cold enough, the battery will stop providing energy completely, which leads to your smartphone turning off.
‘Lithium-ion batteries suffer so badly in freezing temperatures because they have very little internal resistance,’ Hanumant Singh, an electrical engineer at Northeastern University told Wired.
Singh added that a Lithium-Ion battery’s reaction to the cold can be ‘very dramatic,’ with devices typically dying in about 5 minutes when exposed to temperatures colder than -35 degrees Fahrenheit.